Monthly Meeting - 2012-02-14

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Public meeting minutes for Tuesday, February 14th 2012 at 6:30pm
Location: 1820 Pandora Street
Previous: Monthly Meeting - 2012-01-10 | Next: Monthly Meeting - 2012-03-13



Karen, Geoff, Brian, Renea, Christine, Mike, Tim G, Joan, Wayne, Jessica

Explanation of roles

Facilitator: Karen

Scribe: Christine

Consensus briefing

Consensus briefer: Karen




We do not have December statement yet because our accountant has not complete year-end adjustments.
We should have it by next monthly meeting.


  • No work has been done on grants. Jessica has shown interest in writing grants and has asked for any committed staff or Directors to come forward to work on them. No one has come forward yet.


Build / Production

Geoff: Quality improved and quantity is steady. Having Mike do the laptops is fabulous.

H & S

  • Jessica will be redoing her first aid training in the next two months as hers expires in April.
  • WorkSafe BC came, and said place was tidy and neat; they took sample of floor tile and found asbestos. It is not a problem as long as they are on the floor. There is one loose tile in the 3rd floor washroom.


  • We have received 1,230 systems, 293 laptops and 355 LCD monitors since the beginning of the year. We have had over fifty working LCD's in stock for over three months now.


  • no report


  • Volunteer intakes have been very high with regularly over 15 people at each tri weekly orientation.

After they go to orientation, about 70% of people come back to volunteer.
Do we have lots of work for volunteers? Yes.



$16.8k retail ($3900 / 30% over budget-target) for Jan 2012.


$2.1k ($670 / 23% below budget-target).

HW Grants

  • Hardware Grants are flying out, we have approximately ten open and have given away 8 grants this year, including 15 systems.



  • Open class room project has had a lesson every month for almost six months now, all classes have been booked out!

Events / Media

  • Free Geek was featured in a local magazine, copies are in the store.


  • no report

Staff / HR

  • We have temporarily hired Mike Frost for three months starting tomorrow as temporary part-time laptop Coordinator.
  • It is not established if the part time position will turn into a permanent position.

Directors / Governance

  • Two directors, Rod and Devenne, stepped down in January.

Is there anyone taking over the role of the secretary?
No, it is in the agenda for the next directors' meeting.

There is no time limit to fill directors' vacancy. Is there plan to hire suitable directors?
It is on the agenda for the next meeting.

Old business

Commits from January monthly meeting

1. In January 2012 monthly meeting, instead of rewriting the HR report in November's meeting to correct factual inaccuracies and bring the tone in line with the public forum of conduct, staff decided to remove the report. This was not complete, a continuing commit.

2. Carrier Company Insurance
Certificate of coverage for urban delivery service has been provided to the directors. Currently inquiring as to the cost of adding FGV as a third party on their policy. Karen will talk to Tim about cost of adding FGV as third party on carrier company insurance.

New business


Joan: Here is an additional suggestion to help customers and volunteers quickly identify "go-to" or appropriate persons to answer their questions.

(The task definition badges are now in use and are working well.)

In addition to the task badges, I would like to recommend that a white-board be placed at the back of the warehouse indicating which staff members are presently on the floor. The names of paid staff would be listed and a personal magnet (or check mark) would indicate whether the staff member is "in" or "out". If the staff member is at lunch or on a break, a third column would indicate when the staff person is expected to return. This would be of great benefit to the core volunteers who are doing their best to stand-in for the staff at moments when the staff are not available.


We had same thing before.
Jessica said let's do it.
Geoff would be shocked if it is continued to be used, have to explain to people, ask FT staff to update the board when they are not in the building.
In/out whiteboard would help core volunteers to know which staff member is on the premise or off for the day so don't have to hunt for him/her.


Yes Consensus
Jessica commits to implement in/out whiteboard.

Continuation of Staff receiving quarterly bonuses

Jessica Proposal: To continue the practice of giving staff quarterly bonuses when finances allow. The calculations for this can be looked at to assess our last method and either continue using that or improve on it.

Second Proposal: In light of our excellent fiscal year, full time staff be all given an extra week of paid holiday for the year 2012. Part time permanent staff will be given a percentage of that extra week.

Reasoning that Free Geek has been doing well financially and staff have been working hard for inadequate pay. This is something which doesn't cost FG anything extra and motivates and rewards staff.



The last bonus implementation was purposely set not to go over the year. Any initiative needs to be assessed. If it is successful, we should continue but if it is not then we should stop or change the initiative.

Did we succeed? Our stated goal was for the bonus to be sharing of the wealth and be an incentive to a better organization. Sharing wealth was not well defined. Profit over some quarters was not overall wealth. Considering the whole year, each quarter's profit varied and was unpredictable. We are waiting on the year results. We need to consider the whole year not just quarterly.

The bonus implementation was to act as an incentive to make people happy. It did not help morale, actually morale has gone down. From finance view point, we don't know if there was any effect. Did it make staff work more effectively? Was profit affected or is it just the cyclic nature of the business?

The proposal did not speak of temporary relief to help staff low salary although that was part of the bonus motivation. I think it was successful here.

If we are to consider that bonus implementation, we need to see what is different. Things have changed. There was 8% raise which should help temporary low salary. We need to take another look at what would give staff a higher liveable salary. The Bonus is not predictable and does not match any financial forecast. The plan was not useful to staff. The problem with overall bonus implementation is that it was not setup to consider for quarterly losses, and was not in the budget. We should be more specific, actions ie put the bonus money in the budget.

So the bonus implementation did not meet all its goals and conditions have changed.

In general, we do not want a frequent bonus because that could be considered a form of profit sharing. We would risk our not for profit status, which would require us to pay a lot more in income tax.

From an incentive viewpoint we have not defined what we want. Doing a better job would add measures of how we affect the community in a positive way, innovative recycling methods, not just how much revenue we bring in. If we only look at money, we are missing the essence of what the organization is trying to do.

The staff would have more stability if the organization were able to implement the living wage. Having consistent, stable salaries would be far better than unpredictable bonuses based on profit. If we had increasing sustainable revenues, there should be no objection to higher wages, especially if we make that a policy. At this time the financial picture is not clear. We have had a committee looking at salaries. That work is not complete.

Joan: Possibility to set up fund towards living wage calculated by Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative. Cost of living be raised to survive independent of, say, parents' support, There are organizations adopted such policy. Have fund as a goal; something to create balance; wages stabilize fund there as insurance.

Wayne: A yearly bonus can still be considered but it should not be a big part of the salary.

Things to incense, better relationship. From morale, can't give hugh raise and being able to sustain. Short term gain decision leads to pessimistic and low morale.

We need a way to incense better relationships and improve moral. The financial health of the organization must be maintained. We could take short term views which might prevent reaching revenue to provide a living wage.

2nd proposal
We do not know how is this fiscal year as year-end is not complete.
The proposal doesn't cost FG anything extra because only one staff is off at a time and the other staff would provide coverage.
If a staff does not go to work and receive pay, then essentially it is a wage increase.


There was no consensus for both proposals.


Joan: Do we have an up-to-date, computer-accessible list of members in good standing? If not, I would like to suggest that we make one.


We do not have up-to-date, computer-accessible list of members in good standing.
We have list of members on the server. There is no need for up-to-date list of members till EGM or AGM.


  1. Staff decided to remove the HR report from the November meeting, a continuing commit.
  2. Karen will talk to Tim about cost of adding FGV as third party on carrier company insurance.
  3. Jessica will implement in/out board

Next meeting

When: Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 at 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Where: Free Geek Vancouver, 1820 Pandora St., back door


Facilitator: Mike F

Scribe: Christine